State agency renews consumer watchdog effort with tattoo, salon, alcohol ads

New Mexico News

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Part of a renewed consumer watchdog effort, there’s a new advertisement from the state that’s getting a lot of attention for its skin-crawling visuals. 

The advertisement from the Regulation and Licensing Department starts with a painful looking tattoo job and ends with a man exposing what looks an infected tattoo on his arm. 

“You have any ointment for this?” the man asks, before an announcer begins speaking about unlicensed tattoos and piercings causing serious infection. The message from RLD comes as the department says it’s trying to do more to protect New Mexicans. 

“Our new mantra is consumer protection,” said Superintendent Marguerite Salazar, who’s been appointed to oversee RLD under Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration. “I really want people to understand what it is we do in the first place,” Salazar said. 

The agency is involved in critical oversight of occupational licenses and certifications for more than a half-million New Mexican workers at barbershops, salons, construction firms, dentists, tattoo and piercing parlors and more. 

“We don’t only want to be that department that does enforcement, but we want to do a lot of prevention,” said Salazar. 

That’s where the new “tattoo” ad comes along with two other older advertisements that RLD says were filmed years ago but never aired until now. One advertisement explains best practices and how to check for licensing at nail salons. The second advertisement uses bartenders and servers to explain their role in not overserving alcohol to customers. 

“We need to be out there making sure that those folks are doing the right thing,” said Salazar. 

On the heels of an HIV outbreak at an unlicensed Albuquerque salon called, “VIP Beauty Salon and Spa,” Salazar says she is pushing to unleash the agency to do more enforcement. 

“That’s probably one of our biggest concerns is unlicensed practitioners,” said Salazar. 

But the agency also says they want to remind the public to help them in identifying any situation that might be dangerous. 

“We really rely on consumers to let us know what they see. If something doesn’t seem right, we really want them to call us,” said Salazar. 

RLD says it’s been able to buy more vehicles for inspectors to get out in the field in the last year. They’ve also hired more people cutting job vacancies from 27-percent to about 10-percent. 

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